A Slave Family in the Ante-Bellum South

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Loren L. Schweninger, Emeritus Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Twentieth century scholars of Afro-American history have offered two basically different interpretations concerning the effect of slavery on the black family. In his famous 1932 study The Negro Family in the United States, Negro sociologist E. Franklin Frazier asserted that slavery destroyed the black family. Fundamental economic forces and material interests, he said, shattered even the toughest bonds of black familial sentiments and parental love. Supporting Frazier in the 1959 comparative analysis, Slavery: A Problem in American Intellectual and Institutional Life, white historian Stanley M. Elkins listed four reasons for the destruction of the black slave family: sexual exploitation, separation, miscegenation, and restrictive legal codes. "The law could permit no aspect of the slave's conjugal state to have an independent legal existence." In an examination of the urban South, historian Richard C. Wade likewise concluded that "For a slave, no matter where he resided, a house was never a home. Families could scarcely exist in bondage. The law recognized no marriage." And Daniel P. Moynihan, in his 1965 report, re-iterated that slavery had an extremely negative effect on the black family.

Additional Information

Journal of Negro History 60 (January 1975):29-44
Language: English
Date: 1975
Effect of slavery on the black family

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